Original members of the Partido Demokratiko Plipino/Lakas ng Bayan ( PDP-Laban) are in full support of efforts by President Rodrigo Duterte, PDP/Laban national chairman, to unify the party on the condition that Davao del Norte First District Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez is replaced as secretary general or kicked out of the once ruling party.
The conflict — between current leaders of the party and members of a PDP splinter group — has not been settled even as Duterte tried to patch up the rift during a recent meeting attended by the two factions at the Diamond Hotel in Manila.
Reports said that Duterte urged the warring factions to unite or go their separate ways.
The demand for the ouster od Alvarez reiterates the position taken by a PDP-Laban bloc led by Rogelio Garcia which already voted out the former House Speaker as secretary general during an election at a recent annual assembly held by the splinter group.
During the assembly last July 27 at the Amoranto Amphitheater in Quezon City, PDP-Laban president Senator Koko Pimentel was replaced by Garcia, PDP-Laban national council chair, a long-time member of PDP-Laban and a classmate of the Duterte in law school.
Alvarez was replaced by Willy Talag, president of PDP-Laban Makati City council and chair of the membership committee of the National Capital Region chapter.
Pimentel and Alvarez have refused to accept results of the Amoranto election.
But Garcia said that the recent meeting called by Duterte, the PDP/Laban national chairman, to settle the conflict was already a victory on the part of his group.
The Garcia bloc, which calls itself as “PDP/Laban Old Guards” and composed of original party members, last year also called on Duterte, who run under the PDP/Laban banner in the 2016 presidential race, to expel Alvarez for violating party rules in the course of Alvarez’s unauthotized massive recruitment of members.
The Garcia bloc also declared Alvarez as “persona non grata” for replacing regional officials with new recruits and for allowing entry of narco-politicians into the party.
Garcia and his group aired anew the demand for Alvarez’s ouster as secretary general after Duterte gathered the group of Garcia and that of Pimentel and Alvarez in a bid to save the fragmented party, which has been reduced to a minority party in the House of Representatives after Alvarez was replaced by former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Arroyo as House Speaker.